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Bob Davidson’s awful umpiring is finally getting the attention it deserves

Apr 12, 2011, 12:51 PM EDT

bob-davidson-umpire AP

I’m glad to see that prominent media members are starting to focus on the fact that Bob Davidson is one of the worst and definitely the most confrontational umpire in baseball.

Last year Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch ripped into Davidson with a well-done column describing the umpire’s lengthy history of wrong calls and attention-seeking behavior, and now John Lott of the National Post has penned a similar column following Davidson’s latest “incident” with the Blue Jays yesterday.

Lott notes that Davidson led all MLB umpires with 10 ejections last season, points out his incredible propensity to call balks on pitchers, and explains how his tendency to “squat” more than any other umpire leads to a questionable strike zone when he’s behind the plate.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times over the years I’ve heard of an umpire-related incident and been right assuming it involved Davidson. Being a bad umpire is one thing, but being aggressively bad is what really drives me–and an increasing number of people, apparently–crazy when it comes to Davidson.

  1. getmetsmerized - Apr 12, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    As a Mets fan, I can tell you that Keith Hernandez has been on Balkin’ Bob Davidson’s case for as long as I can remember.

  2. BC - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Joe West is worse.

    • deathmonkey41 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:07 PM

      Joe West is definately fatter

      • BC - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        If West were any fatter he’d have moons orbiting him.
        (Had been a while since I used that one)

      • jimbo1949 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Joe West is horrawful but, he’s been layin’ off the donuts (hmmm donuts!). Not nearly as fat this year.(my good deed for today)

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      I’d appreciate if you use his full title when citing Mr. West. That is, Mr. Cowboy Joe West.

    • poreef - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      The famous country music singer?

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      But is he a chipwich? Or does he just eat a lot of them?

    • schmedley69 - Apr 12, 2011 at 9:46 PM

      Agreed. Cowboy Joe is awful and confrontational, and he’s been that way forever. MLB needs to do something about these lifers who suck at their jobs.

  3. Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Angel Hernandez and CB Bucknor also come to mind.

    • skerney - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      I used to work in a clubhouse and I heard more complaints about Angel Hernandez than any other umpire. Especially from pitchers.

      • bh0673 - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:51 AM

        I have to agree Angel Hernandez can ruin a game with his arogance and over use of ejections. Couple him with West ( since they seem to be on the same crew) they will 9 times out of 10 ruin a game. SOMEONE NEED TO REMIND THE UMPIRES WE DON’T PAY TO SEE THEM UMPIRE A GAME WE PAY TO SEE THE PLAYERS PLAY THE GAME!!!!!

  4. dmccarrie - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Larry Andersen goes nuts when CB Bucknor does Phillies games with good reason. He is just awful.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      On Sunday TMac and Wheels mentioned the new propensity for home plate umps to call check swing strikes without help from the others. I think Rauuuuuul was damn near close to being tossed for bitching about that.

  5. rollinghighwayblues - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    CB, Angel, Davidson and Cowboy Joe West are all inaugural members of the Rogue Umpire Roundup. They truly deserve to be blindfolded and walked off a cliff.

    • Old Gator - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:31 PM

      Naaahh. Stripped naked, smeared with honey and staked out over a fire ant mound.

      • paperlions - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:04 PM

        I’ll settle for fired

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        Maybe Gator just wants to see these guys stripped naked and smeared in honey. The image makes me want to stab myself in the eyes, but to each his own.

      • bh0673 - Apr 13, 2011 at 7:54 AM

        I just would love to hear Bud grow a set and remind the umpires that the game is more important then they are. I don’t drive 60 miles 30 plus times a year to go to a Yankee game or Met game to see the umpires ruin a game.

  6. cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I always hesitate to blame umpires when a team does what the Blue Jays did last night (Scott Barry behind the plate) but in 3 cases obvious strikes were called balls IMO and the next pitches walked batters to bring a run in. Keeping in mind the Blue Jays bullpen was not impressing anyone, but a strike’s a strike, fat boy.

    As for Davidson and the call on the basepaths against Escobar (2 days ago Craig); that sucked the big one but may in fact have been the right call. It could have gone either way but I was unsurprised when that worm Davidson called Escobar for interference. In slo-mo the fielder was held up just little bit as Escobar stuck to the base line; umpire discretion all the way on if it was significant to the play or not. Davidson said it was and no surprise; if that guy ever gave the Jays the benefit of the doubt it was by accident.

    Barry, West & Davidson seem to think some of the game should be about them and what they want to see as the outcome. There should be a place in the baseball for those guys; the unemployment line.

    • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:37 PM

      Sorry Aaron, I meant to type your name there but Craig’s is shorter and my righteous indignation overcame my quest for accuracy. I’m sure the same thing happens to West and his buddies.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        I love that you made the spectacularly outlandish claim that “Craig” is shorter than “Aaron”. I know I was amused.

      • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Write em down and measure them. Craig is shorter than Aaron. The ‘a’s and o’s are fatter. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

      • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:24 PM

        Mabry, Canadians have a consonant fetish.

      • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:44 PM

        That’s ‘constant fetish’ there my friend. We fetish anything and everything; that’s what being frozen a$$ed cold does for you.

  7. seanmk - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    scott barry ejected ryan howard in the game that roy oswalt had to play left field

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      Scott Barry is a chipwich eating douchenozzle.

  8. The Baseball Idiot - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Gee, imagine the guys on this site taking a shot at the umpires. Can’t believe that would happen.

    I agree Davidson is a bad umpire, but the guy who wrote th column is a worse writer, and you bought into everything he said for no other reason than you don’t like umpires.

    First, the call in Toronto was interference, and was the right call. Just because the ‘writer’ is from Toronto and didn’t like the call doesn’t mean Davidson blew it. He didn’t. He got it right, and the ‘writer’ needs to stop pissing and moaning because a call went against his team.

    Secondly, the umpire does have control over issues off the field of play. It’s that way from T-ball all the way up to the major leagues. That’s how umpires in the minors got those idiots tossed last year who were screaming homophobic insults at players. Something you guys all agreed was a good thing to do. Again, just because the ‘writer’ doesn’t understand how the game actually works doesn’t mean Davidson was wrong. He wasn’t, as it is within the scope of his job to have fans ejected.

    Third, the ‘writer’ is using Keith Law and his twitter idiocy to back up his point. You know, the guy who never found a controversy he couldn’t get involved in.

    Fourth, what the hell is the reference to ‘squats’. He mentions, sites some meaningless number, and then forgets all about it. Just a little information, every umpire squats before every ptich to an average of 300 times (or more) per game. Exactly how does Davidson doing what every other major league, and minor league, and college, and high school, and little league, umpire does make him a bad umpire? I know what the ‘writer’ thinks he’s referring to, but why doesn’t he actually say what the problem is, instead of using the “players from both teams spoke about it” line? Exactly what did they “spoke about”?

    This is just crappy writing from a homer journalist is mad his team lost on a stupid play that everyone learns at the age of 10.

    I agree, Davidson is the best umpire around, but this guy is just whining and does nothing to provide any actual argument for it, and you bought right into it. This post is worse than any call Davidson has ever made.

    • TomTom - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      I actually agree here – what I took away from this article is that the writer is a serious homer who needed to find an excuse for the Jays’ loss (even though he sites actual reasons like poor hitting with RISP). Davidson isn’t good. He hasn’t worked a WS in years, thankfully but that call I think was really close and could have gone either way.

      I almost equate it to basketball refs calling fouls really late in the game. Kinda cheap, and I would definitely prefer to see them play it out but it didn’t bother me.

      Where I disagree with you is here: “This post is worse than any call Davidson has ever made.”

      That’s just silly talk.

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:13 PM

      Checking the pitchFX charts, one pitch by Dotel, one by Purcey that was right down the middle, and one by Rzepczynski were called balls but should have been strikes. I have no interest in either team; these were just bad calls (one of them horrendous) by a bad and aggressive umpire. Davidson has had some extremely embarrassing episodes the last couple of years…it isn’t his bad calls that are the major problem (oddly enough), it is his overt aggressive responses to any question of his authority.
      A good umpire engages in civil discourse or just ignores minor comments by players….Davidson seeks out confrontation, he is the antithesis of an ideal arbiter.

      • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:48 PM

        Thanks for pointing out the pitchFX chart, lions; I couldn’t be arsed to look it up but my eye isn’t usually wrong. I do believe the subsequent pitches walked in runs, too.

    • Mark - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:42 PM

      Just to clarify since you didn’t respond last time – you mentioned this was “textbook interference”. Could you point out in the rulebook what makes it textbook interference?

      Like I said before, I’m legitimately interested in finding out how this is interference, because according to “6.05(m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:”.

      So for Escobar to have committed interference, he would have had to intentionally interfere with Callaspo. Seeing as Escobar didn’t speed up or slow down to interfere with Callaspo, there was no intent on the play. And that’s the key here. If Escobar did either of those things, then I’d agree that it would be textbook interference.

      Now, I don’t expect you to have the rulebook memorized, but if I could find it in 30 seconds using CTRL F on MLB’s rules site, I wouldn’t expect it to take a trained umpire such as yourself very long to find it either.

      I don’t even care about the play anymore, I’d just like to know what rule you would be applying in this scenario.

      • rjhiggins - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM

        You’re citing the wrong rule (note that 6.05(m) refers to a “thrown ball.” Check 2.00, the definition of terms:

        (a) Offensive interference is an act by the team at bat which interferes with, obstructs, impedes, hinders or confuses any fielder attempting to make a play.

        In this case the runner absolutely impeded and hindered the 3B in his attempt to get to the ball. Intent has nothing to do with it, nor does there have to be contact. It is the runner’s responsibility to allow the fielder to make the play, which he didn’t do.

        At least you are trying to understand the call. So many others don’t even understand the rules (“But there was no contact!!!”) yet feel free to scream about bad calls.

        Davidson obviously has had his issues, but he got this one absolutely right.

    • derpdederpdederp - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:24 PM

      the call in toronto was not interference. escobar stayed in the baseline and never contacted the 3B or the ball. if the 3B had just charged the ball and ran into escobar then it would be the right call, but instead it was a horrendous missed call that cost the jays the game

      • rjhiggins - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:04 PM

        You do realize, of course, that staying in the baseline and not making contact with the fielder or the ball have nothing to do with whether there’s interference or not, right? Right?

        Try learning the rules of the game before you start crying about calls, fanboy.

      • derpdederpdederp - Apr 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM

        like i said, if the 3B had just charged the ball, which he could have, it wouldve been the right call. instead he chose to hesitate, go around escobar, and make a poor throw. thats not escobars fault, its the 3B fault, so it makes no sense to call escobar out. btw im no “fanboy” and it doesnt look like im crying hear, but whatever, i know the rules and i know if i was umpng theres no way i call that interference

      • higginsfamily - Apr 14, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        You say you know the rules, but then you say that it’s not interference because Escobar a) stayed in the baseline, and b) didn’t make contact with the fielder. Yet neither of those negate interference, suggesting you don’t know the rules at all. But you sure know how to root, root, root for the home team!

    • Jonny 5 - Apr 13, 2011 at 9:15 AM

      “Secondly, the umpire does have control over issues off the field of play. It’s that way from T-ball all the way up to the major leagues.”

      T-ball has umpires? LOL!!! “Steeeeerike!!!!!! Are those tears??!!! you’re outta here, boy!!!!”

  9. The Baseball Idiot - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    I agree, Davidson is the “NOT” best umpire around, but this guy is just whining and does nothing to provide any actual argument for it, and you bought right into it. This post is worse than any call Davidson has ever made.

    • dluxxx - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      Truely you live up to your moniker. The last part anyway. What are you “Balkin Bob’s” brother or something?

    • professor59 - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:32 PM

      But Davidson’s bad calls change baseball history. This column, no matter the quality, can’t even change your mind.

  10. rollinghighwayblues - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    How has nobody brought up the atrocious calls made in the top of the 9th Sunday night in the Sox-Yanks game. I believe it was Gardner who got hosed for the first out and then Tex got absolutely hosed on a called third strike to end the game that was a breaking ball 10 inches outside and broke at his ankles. I can’t recall the home plate umpires name but his zone was a very consistent one all night until the 9th rolled around.

    • marinersnate - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      That’s right! The Yankees’ were cheated! Again!

    • seattlej - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM

      Nobody has brought it up because of the fact that it was the Yanks and Sox… two terrible east coast teams that nobody watches. I think there were only 10,000 or so in the stands, and the game probably wasn’t even televised.

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Because every story is not about the Yankees…there are enough stories about them, there is no need to make a story about a bad umpire and the Blue Jays about the Yankees getting a couple of bad calls at the end of a game they lost by 4 runs.

    • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:55 PM

      Probably a minor injustice comparatively; the Yankees were losing by 4 & those calls didn’t really change anything much (especially as the Tex 3rd strike was a wee bit closer than you are indicating here, but hey, I’d do the same thing). The Jays were winning by 7 and those calls altered the outcome noticeably; they wound up contributing to runs.

      • marinersnate - Apr 13, 2011 at 2:05 AM

        That’s right! The Jay’s were cheated! Again!

  11. macjacmccoy - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Is he the guy that wont ask for help on a checked swing that clearly wasnt followed through on but still calls it a swing anyway.

    • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:36 PM

      not sure if you’re asking a question mac, but it is indeed he. Can’t tell a ball from a strike but he knows how far you swung every time.

    • rjhiggins - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      Once he calls it a strike he can’t go for help. It’s in the rulebook. Have you ever read one?

  12. derpdederpdederp - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    surprised nobody has mentioned his extremely aggressive yelling match with joe maddon last year. i agree that davidson is just a classless and useless individual

  13. paperlions - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Davidson is at home for the Cardinals/D-backs game tonight…he’s already had two embarrassing yelling matches, one with a player, and one with Gibson after he threw Gibson out in the bottom of the 3rd.

    • paperlions - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:46 PM

      Oh…and each yelling match started when Davidson made horrible calls on check swings that were no where near a swing, not borderline, not close, just complete crap…he didn’t ask for help, the catcher didn’t ask for a call, Davidson just decided to make horrible calls….the only other people in the world that are this bad at their jobs and still have them run banks or fortune 500 companies, are politicians, or own the Mets.

  14. bflbilsfan - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Davidson strikes again!!!! What a terrible call!!!!! Not even close the 2nd check swing

  15. O.Handwasher - Apr 13, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I though Selene killed that guy in the first Underworld movie…

  16. crashdavis99 - Apr 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    I cast a vote for Jim Joyce!

    Sincerely, Armando Galarraga

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